Amoako-Gyampah ISM/MBA 654-41 Summer 2003 Syllabus 1
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Bryan School of Business & Economics
Department of Information Systems & Operations Management
Course Web Site: http://www.uncg.edu/bae/people/amoako/ISM654/ism654.htm
Course Number: ISM/MBA 654.41
Monday, 6:00-9:30 p.m.
Classroom: Bryan 204
Course Name: Information Systems Project Management
Instructor: Dr. Kwasi Amoako-Gyampah
Office: 436 Bryan Building, Telephone: 334-4989 (work)
Office Hours: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Monday- Thursday;
4:45-5:45 Monday or by appointment
Required Materials: i. Information Technology Project Management by Kathy Schwalbe,
Course Technology, Boston, MA. ISBN 0-619-03528-5
ii. Downloads from Course Web site, BlackBoard and the Internet.
Optional Materials: None
Prerequisites: Admission to either MSITM or other approved graduate program
Course Description: Modern methods of defining, planning and managing large IT projects.
Computer software and network modeling are used to support the
efficient scheduling of interdependent activities.
INTRODUCTION & RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER COURSEWORK:
Project Management deals with seeking new methods of planning, organizing, and controlling
Amoako-Gyampah ISM/MBA 654-41 Summer 2003 Syllabus 2
non-routine tasks. The management of a project differs in several ways from management of a
typical enterprise. The goal of a project team is to accomplish its prescribed mission and then
disband; though this is easier said than done. Project Management has been around for some
time, though it has recently become more important because of the shifting emphasis on teams in
accomplishing tasks. Some of the better known examples of tasks accomplished using project
management techniques are:
The construction of the Egyptian pyramids
The Manhattan Project
The Apollo space program
Operation Free Iraq
The Denver International Airport
The Atlanta Olympics
The Relocation of the old Chancellor’s Residence at UNCG
This course covers some of the issues related to managing projects in organizations and students
will be expected to draw on materials from other business courses.
GENERAL COURSE OBJECTIVES:
1. To understand the concepts of project planning and organization, budgeting and control, and project
2. To learn concepts related to organizational workflow including the staffing process, project planning
elements, and the project plan contents and project communications.
3. To master several basic project scheduling techniques including WBS, CPM, PERT, GANTT
CHARTS, and resource constrained scheduling.
4. To understand the related concepts of organizational forms, conflict resolution, and issues related to
leadership and task management in a project environment.
5. To improve written and oral communication skills through formal writing assignments and group
6. To become familiar with Microsoft Project in performing simple project management tasks
Amoako-Gyampah ISM/MBA 654-41 Summer 2003 Syllabus 3
The methods employed to achieve course objectives will include:
1. Class lectures highlighting critical course material
2. Textbook reading
3. Threaded discussions on the Web.
4. Cases selected to bring out important concepts and familiarity with tools
5. Some reading assignments from sources other than the textbook
PERFORMANCE EVALUATION & GRADING:
1. Grades- The course grade will be based on the following point distribution:
JPace Construction Company 50
DU Singer Case analysis/Term Paper 100
Threaded Discussions 100
Final Exam 150
Grade Assignment: A: 365-400, A-: 358-364; B+: 348-357; B: 328-347; B-: 316-327; C:
2. CLASS POLICIES
1. Attendance - You are responsible for all information and announcements that are made in class.
Therefore you should attend class regularly. If you miss class contact someone or me as soon as
possible for all relevant material.
2. Reading Assignments for each class are given on the syllabus. You are expected to complete
the readings before coming to class.
3. Threaded Discussions: You will be expected to participate in threaded discussions through the
web. Discussion questions based on material from each chapter will be assigned and you will be
expected to respond to both the instructor’s questions as well as responses from your
colleagues. Threaded discussion questions will form part of the final exam questions (See
section under Threaded Discussions below for details).
The following themes will be emphasized in the course through the use ofthe cases and mini-cases.
JPace Construction Company Risk analysis/Contingency planning
DU Singer Managing resource requirements
Amoako-Gyampah ISM/MBA 654-41 Summer 2003 Syllabus 4
Mini-cases (part of threaded discussions) Theme
The communication problem Managing project communications
The Bad Apple Managing teams on projects
Project Cost Overrun Cost overruns and lessons
Students who have experience with Microsoft Project will be offered the chance to a do short term
paper. They will be given a published paper and will be required to use the contents of the paper as the
basis of assessing the “state of project management readiness” within their organizations.
Students choosing this option (not a group assignment) will be asked to write a short paper
relating to project management within their organizations. The paper should deal with a specific
aspect of project management within the organization such as the state of project management
maturity within the organization; an assessment of the mix (portfolio) of projects being undertaken
or recently undertaken within the organization; and project justification and selection procedures
within the organization. Students will be provided with published materials for each topic that they
can use as starting points for their papers.
The paper would entail a brief review of the appropriate literature. The student will be expected
to interview executives, project managers and other personnel within the organization. Any
interviews or surveys should be well documented and referenced in the paper. Students should
note that the focus of this paper is on assessment and that purely descriptive papers will result in
Feel free to discuss your term paper with me as it is being developed. The paper should be typed
(maximum 12 point size lettering), and double-spaced on 8.5" by 11" paper. The paper should be
between 12-14 pages in length. Do not add verbiage for the sake of length. Include diagrams,
sketches, or other types of illustrations that will clarify your presentation. Citations should be
appropriately referenced at the end of the paper, and pages, tables, and figures should be
appropriately numbered. The term paper will be graded on organization, thoroughness,
insightfulness of analysis/recommendations, and written communication skills. A purely
descriptive paper will earn a low grade. Papers should focus on analysis. The term paper
is to be submitted at the beginning of class on June 23, 2003. Late submissions will not be
accepted. Each student/member of the group should attest to the statement that "I/WE HAVE
ABIDED BY THE ACADEMIC HONOR POLICY ON THIS ASSIGNMENT" on a separate
cover page of the term paper assignment.
Each student is required to participate in the threaded discussions. The goal of the threaded discussions
is for us to learn from each other in an effective and efficient manner. Students are encouraged to
Amoako-Gyampah ISM/MBA 654-41 Summer 2003 Syllabus 5
participate in all the web discussions. We will use BlackBoard for all web discussions and postings. In
addition to the required postings, so as to earn part of the course grade as noted below, participation in
the web discussions will help you prepare for the final exam. Three levels of participation are required.
1. Three (and sometimes more) discussion questions are listed for each scheduled class meeting. Each
student is required to post a response to one of the listed questions. You will be assigned your
questions on the first class night. The response should be posted, at the latest time, twenty-four
hours before the next scheduled class meeting (except the ones assigned for the first class meeting).
Since there are five scheduled meetings (the sixth meeting is the final exam) you will be expected to
make FIVE such postings to fulfill this part of the assignment. Each posting should be a meaningful
discussion of the original question and should be at least 2 paragraphs long. One sentence
paragraphs do not count. You may draw on any references to provide justification for your posting.
Each posting is worth 8 points. See list of threaded discussion questions at the end of the
2. Each student will be assigned an article to read on a given topic. The articles are listed as suggested
readings below. Each student is supposed to provide a two-page summary of the article. The
summary should be posted on Blackboard. All summaries are to be completed before the second
class meeting. In your posting, provide a summary of the main highlights of the article for about 1½
pages. In the last ½ page, discuss the important lessons, why you think some of the ideas in the
article are applicable (or realistic), not applicable to either project management in general or to your
organization. This assignment is worth 30 points.
3. The third level of discussion is for you to pose either a discussion question yourself, or provide a
counter argument to a previous posting or provide some personal experiences with regard to a given
posting or topic. You will be expected to make SIX of such postings to fulfill this part of the
assignment. Each posting is worth 5 points. For this part of the discussion you cannot
contribute to a discussion if there are already 4 previous contributions to that particular
Oral & WrittenCommunications Content:
Oral and written communications for this course are addressed through the threaded discussions, cases,
and class discussions as detailed above.
This is addressed through the application of Microsoft Project in helping to understand project
scheduling and resource requirements. We will also be using the Internet for our threaded discussions
and rely on e-mail for extensive communications. Students will be expected, whenever possible, to use
appropriate information technology in the completion of assignments.
Amoako-Gyampah ISM/MBA 654-41 Summer 2003 Syllabus 6
Even though specific coverage of ethical issues will not be done in this class, students will be made
aware of the importance of ethical considerations in making project management decisions, and in the
completion of course requirements.
Discussion of global issues is limited in this course
Demographic Diversity Perspectives:
This course will not specifically address this issue.
Political, Social, Legal,
Regulatory & Environmental Perspectives:
These will be discussed as they apply to the justification procedures for project selection and the general
management of projects.
All UNCG students are expected to conduct themselves with the highest standards of academic
honesty. Academic misconduct, including cheating, forgery and plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students
are required to pledge their assignments and examinations using the UNCG honor code.
TENTATIVE CLASS SCHEDULE:
Session # Date Topics and Assignments
1 5/19 A. Introduction -
Assignments - i. Be prepared to share with the rest of the class any roles, and responsibilities you have
had in your organization as a project leader, team member etc.
ii. Read Chapters 1, 2 & 5 of the Textbook.
iii. You should have visited the course web site and previewed all the material for
iv. You should also have visited BlackBoard to view the Discussion Questions.
Study Guide: Identify answers to the following questions in your readings.
i. What is a Project?
ii. What makes projects different from day to day operations in organizations?
iii. What is Project Management?
iv. Why and when do organizations need to use Project Management?
v. What is a project life cycle?
vi. What are the major decisions over the project life cycle?
Amoako-Gyampah ISM/MBA 654-41 Summer 2003 Syllabus 7
Review the PowerPoint slides titled R-3 Migrations to see an example of project life cycle activities.
B. Project Scheduling
Reading Assignments: i.Read Chapter 5
ii. Look through the Appendix on Microsoft Project
i. What does Project Scheduling entail?
ii. How can Network Techniques - CPM and PERT be used to facilitate project
iii. What is a Critical Path and what role does it play?
iv. What role do Gantt Charts play in project scheduling?
B. Critical Path Analysis - Monitoring schedules
i. Why is it necessary to sometimes crash projects
ii. What are the steps involved in project crashing
iii. Project crashing tradeoffs
**Review readings # 1, 2 and, 3 on the “list of readings”**
Session # Date Topics and Assignments
2 5/26 A. Project Scheduling Contd.
B. Project Selection & Project Risk Assessment
C. Introduction to Microsoft Project (Class meets in the lab)
A. PERT Scheduling
i. How can you enhance project completion information
ii. How do you determine project completion probabilities
iii. How can you use activity duration variances in project mgt?
B. The Nature of Project Selection, Justification & Risk Assessment
i. What factors are important in selecting projects?
ii. What are the different types of models for selecting projects, why are
they useful and what are their limitations?
iii. Why is project risk assessment in project management
iv. What are the different approaches for assessing project risks?
- Class meets in the LAB - Room 212 for the second half of the session. Please bring a diskette
to class and also class notes from the previous session.
**Review readings # 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.
Session # Date Topics and Assignments
Amoako-Gyampah ISM/MBA 654-41 Summer 2003 Syllabus 8
3 6/2 Project Resources, Project Manager, Project Team & Microsoft Project
Reading Assignments: Chapters 8, 14 and Chapter 2 (pp. 41-43) of Textbook.
Read through Appendix A of Textbook
B. Managing Project Resources
i. What is Resource Loading?
ii. How do you manage variability in resource requirements and insufficient resources?
C. Project Manager & Project Team
i. What are the roles and responsibilities of the project manager?
ii. What are the skills and characteristics required for a successful project manager?
iii. What types of problems does a project manager typically face and how do these
iv. Design a matrix of problems/challenges and skill requirements
v. Who should be on a project team
vi. How do you manage team members who do not report to you?
vii. How do you manage project team meetings?
D. Microsoft Project for Windows - Class meets in the LAB - Room 212 for the second half of
the session. Please bring a diskette to class and also class notes from the previous session
Review readings #9, 10, 11, 12, and 13.
Session # Date Topics and Assignments
4 6/9 Project Planning, Budgeting, Project Monitoring & Control
A. Read Chapter 5 of textbook
Read Chapter 9 of textbook.
i. What is the purpose of project planning?
ii. What are the main project planning activities?
iii. What is a work breakdown structure, Can you develop one for a given project?
iv. What are linear responsibility charts?
v. Different ways of developing budgets - managerial issues
vi. How do you link project schedules with budgets
vii. Why should projects be monitored?
viii. What should you look for when monitoring projects?
ix. Monitoring schedules - do you need to crash project?
x. What is an earned value chart? How is it useful?
Amoako-Gyampah ISM/MBA 654-41 Summer 2003 Syllabus 9
Review readings # 14, 15, and 16
Session # Date Topics and Assignments
5 6/16 Project Communications; Conflict Management, & Project Termination
Assignments: Read Chapter 10 of textbook
i. What should be the key goals and components of a communication plan for a
ii. What are the different types of conflict over the project life cycle?
iii. For each stage what are the main types of conflicts and why do they occur?
iv. How can you resolve these conflicts?
v. What are the main reasons why projects are terminated?
vi. How should you organize the project termination process
vii. What types of lessons are worth learning at the conclusion of a project?
Review readings # 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, &22
**DU Singer Assignment Due**
** Term Paper Due**
Session # Date Topics and Assignments
Final Exam - The Final exam will be a closed book in-class examination. The exam will consist of short
problems, short essays, and mini-cases. The content will be based on material drawn
from our class lectures and handouts, textbook readings and cases, and the threaded
Threaded Discussion Questions
1. How is project management different from everyday management?
2. Why do you think so many IT and other projects are unsuccessful?
3. What do you think accounts for the differences in companies’ abilities to manage projects?
4. What are the shortcomings of using financial measures to justify IT project selection and what
suggestions can you offer to address these shortcomings?
Amoako-Gyampah ISM/MBA 654-41 Summer 2003 Syllabus 10
5. Suppose you think your company should expedite the implementation of a project, IT or otherwise,
but management prefers a slow, phased approach. What arguments will you use to win management
to your side?
6. What is safety time with regard to project scheduling? Is safety time necessary for projects? What
types of safety times are most appropriate?
7. What are the different ways that a manager can use slack or float times on a project?
8. What skills are needed by a project manager in order to be successful? Can these skills be learned
or do you think some are innate?
9. What is scope creep? How does it occur and how can it be avoided?
10. What tools or mechanisms can a project manager use to motivate people on a project who do not
report directly to him or her?
11. Some have argued that to be successful, a project should have the “right team members”. What
criteria would you use to judge if a person is a “right team member”?
12. Although many studies recommend that personnel be assigned full time to projects, very few
companies assign employees full time to projects? Why do you think this occurs?
13. Why is that sometimes adding more human resources to a project that is already late causes that
project to become even further delayed? So, when is it more appropriate to add more human
resources to a project?
14. Most managers agree that project planning is very critical to the achievement of project management
goals and yet managers do not adequately pay much attention to project planning. Why do you
think this happens and what measures should project sponsors put in place to ensure that project
planning is given the attention it deserves.
15. Take a look at the “The Bad Apple” vignette and post your response to the web.
16. Take a look at “Project Cost Overrun” and post a response to the question asked.
17. The three main project management goals are on time, within budget and achieving performance
specifications. Should a project manager give up some functionality (e.g. technical requirements) in
order to meet schedule milestones? Is this particularly more appropriate or inappropriate for IT
18. What are the merits and demerits of using various communication formats (e-mail, face-to-face
meetings, intranets etc. in project communications)?
19. Choose any one of the vignettes listed under “The Communication Problem” and respond to the
20. A colleague argues that project meetings are a complete waste of time. Do you agree? If so why, if
not why not? What should be the purpose of project meetings?
21. Why do you think scheduling issues cause the most conflicts on projects? What techniques would
you suggest for addressing scheduling issues?